DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change
without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant
Spain and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.
For information concerning travel to Spain, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Spain at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1024.html.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Spain. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Spanish Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is in the Subdirección General de Cooperación Juridíca Internacional in the Ministry of Justice. The Spanish Central Authority has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications. The SCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate State Attorney in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides. The State Attorney brings the case on behalf of Spain.
The Spanish Central Authority can be reached at:
Subdirección General de Cooperación Jurídica Internacional
Ministerio de Justicia
c/San Bernardo No. 62
Tel.: +34 (91) 390 4437/+34 (91) 390 4273
Fax: +34 (91) 390 2383
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Spain, the USCA encourages left-behind parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the SCA. All documents written in English must be translated into Spanish. Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary. Any competent person or organization may translate the documents. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Spanish Central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Spain. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Spain. The criteria
for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents
living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting
a Hague application
Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application to a court in Spain. The SCA assigns State Attorneys to present a Hague case before the appropriate court. However, the State Attorney does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the application; instead, the State Attorney represents Spain and submits the request for return on behalf of the SCA. The State Attorney will have no direct contact with the left-behind parent.
Parents have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant parent’s responsibility. The SCA will withdraw from the Hague case if an applicant hires a private attorney; however, they will continue to provide information on the Hague Abduction Convention, if requested, and will monitor the progress of the case, if they are aware of it.
The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law at: http://madrid.usembassy.gov/citizen-services/professional-services/attorneys2.html.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The SCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the SCA recommends mediation, when possible, through International Social Services http://www.iss-ssi.org/2009/index.php?id=1. Mediation is voluntary
The Embassy of Spain is located in Washington, D.C., at:
Embassy of Spain
2375 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Telephone: 202-452-0100, 202-728-2340